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Qualities of a good school head
WHAT are the most important skills required to become a good school head?
Not every teacher has dreams of becoming a school leader in education, maybe because of the enormous responsibilities that come with the position not to mention the time needed for a continuous education and training required to become a school principal.
Only those who have the heart and proper skills to seek out top leadership positions and leadership roles throughout their lives will have the desire to pursue a leadership role in education.
To lead a school though will require vast knowledge and training not only in the field of education but proper management as well.
What skills are required to be a successful principal?
As a principal, you are in charge of a large staff, as well as a huge number of students and you are the mediator between students, teachers, and their parents. Therefore, as principal you must be a strong leader so that students, staff, and parents respect you and listen to what you say.
It can be useful for principals to have previous experience in various other teaching leadership roles, such as head of a department or organizer of a co-curricular activity. This gives you the opportunity to develop your leadership skills by managing a smaller team before taking on the role of principal where you are in charge of everyone in the school.
As a principal, you come into contact with many different people: parents, students, and staff members. You therefore need to make sure that you communicate any necessary information to them, and in an appropriate way- the way that you would address a student would be different from how you would communicate with a parent or staff member.
The most important thing is that you keep all parties informed about what is going on at the school. To communicate with parents, for example, you could send out a weekly newsletter, outlining events happening at the school and student achievements for the week.
To communicate with staff you could send out a weekly bulletin with any relevant information they may need to know about students.
An ability to delegate
There is a common misconception that a good leader is someone who is able to do everything themselves. Whereas, in fact, the best leaders (and therefore the best school principals) know when they should delegate a certain task to someone else. There might be some tasks which other staff members would be better equipped to complete, or sometimes a principal may simply have far too much work to complete themselves and requires help from other members of staff to get everything done. This is where being able to delegate specific tasks to other members of staff comes in very handy!
Another essential quality for a school principal is that they are decisive. Being decisive gives the impression to both staff and students that you know what you are doing and you are confident in your abilities. This, in turn, increases their confidence in your ability to lead the school. In addition, usually, if you act decisively and therefore quickly, it means that the issue which you are trying to address is also solved immediately.
Teambuilding and Collaboration Skills
As the school’s top honcho, you are directly responsible for leading your team of staff and students to succeed. Therefore, you must develop and demonstrate how you can unite the school as one and lead in times of crisis or change. Be the first person to take action when something goes wrong.
Make sure that the school population knows they can turn to you right away. Propose new ideas to bring together teachers of different schools of thought to learn and flourish through extraordinary collaboration.
These and more are only the start for being a good school principal. Experiencing and producing world class graduates will spell the difference.
Noli V. Villoria,Master Teacher II at Ballesteros National High School in Cagayan. BY NOLI V. VILORIA